Never Forget

Today was the day my back splash I have been waiting seven months for was installed. It’s not actually done. It is all up with spacers still between the tiles. The grouting will happen Wednesday and that is when I will actually unveil the whole thing.

I hired a great tile guy who came today with his brother, his cousin and a helper named Jorge. Jorge did all the heavy lifting and toting back and forth to the trucks, mixing the mortar. The four of them worked from 8-3 to get the job done. This is one reason I decided to hire a professional rather than do it myself. After fourteen days of painting I can only imagine how long it would have taken to tile by myself. Plus, I am afraid of the tile saw.

After cleaning my office while they tiled I finally game myself a break and went to work on my giant ass puzzle. I was sitting in our big room listening to the tile guys talk while I searched for the missing piece. Jorge, who is from a Mexico, was talking about going to a soccer match. One of the old white guys asked him if his father was going to go with him. Jorge said, “No, he is too afraid.”

The white guys said, “What, that’s crazy.”

Jorge didn’t say anything else about it that I could hear and they all worked silently for a while.

I got to thinking how terrifying it must be to be in this country as a foreigner right now. Later I was watching the news about this being the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. An old Jewish couple who both survived the camp and later met and married were being interviewed. The woman talked about how they emigrated to America and the feeling they had when they saw the Statue of Liberty. She talked about how this was the greatest county.

I do believe that we have the capacity to be that same country again, but not in the Make America Great Again theme. We are a country of immigrants and we should not forget it. We are stronger when we are diverse. No one should be afraid to go to a soccer match. No one should live in the shadows.

The tile guys needed Jorge. He made their work go easier. They could concentrate on what they did best because Jorge was here.

We can never forget Auschwitz and how a duly elected official was able to wipe out 11 million innocent people while others stood by. It can happen again as long as we allow our government to put children in cages. We can never forget and keep our eyes open now. No one should be invisible.

Surprise Grout Cleaning

I can’t remember exactly when Russ and I redid our master bathroom. For years we suffered with the original 1950’s Grey tile, tub and double sinks. The sinks were big, but had no storage as they were Grey porcelain on silver metal legs. Russ wanted us to do a major bathroom renovation and increase our footprint. I thought there was a more conservative way that did not mean I had to lose my closet.

I went about designing a glass shower with no curtain and getting two smaller square bowl sinks that I put on top of a narrow wood console. The faucet came out of the wall so the sinks could be snug against the wall. These few changes made our tiny master more livable and I have been happy with it for the last fifteen or sixteen years.

In all that time we have had the original grout in the shower. It has held up great, but I am always on the search for the best cleaning product to keep the grout white. The caulking on the edge is my worst nemesis. It has yellowed and I think it is time to pull it out and redo it. My tile man who is coming tomorrow to do the kitchen does not want anything to do with the caulking.

Today in my regular cleaning of the bathroom I tried a new way to clean the caulk, which has yellowed, Oxi -Clean. Yes, the stuff I use in the laundry. I made it into a paste and put it on the caulk on the edges of the shower floor. I was trying to get that caulk a little closer to the white grout color, but that too had yellows, just not as much. After scrubbing the edges with an old tooth brush I rinsed the shower floor. To my surprise the Oxi that had been on the edges flowed over the grout on the floor and whitened the grout without any scrubbing.

I am still going to have to remove the old caulking and re-caulk, but the floor looks brand new. It was just a mistake that I stumbled upon this, but if you want to clean old grout try Oxi-Clean. And no, Oxi-clean isn’t paying me a cent for this, but they really should advertise it.

Happy Birthday Mom!

It’s my Mom’s 82nd birthday. She won’t mind my telling how old she is because she looks damn good for her age, but then again she has always looked good.

Unfortunately she is not feeling well on her big day as she has been sick all week. Please send prayers for a quick recovery. She isn’t good laying low. It means she can not do all the things that keep her the most active person her age. She can’t paint or play bridge or walk the mile long farm road which are things she does everyday if she can. It’s too cold to swim, which she does everyday when it’s warm.

She can read one of the many library books she has sitting by her bed. She can’t stand to ever buy a book when you can get it for free from the library. Since it’s Saturday she can’t watch the stock market and make some trades. But if she feels up to it she can always iron. She has a strong feeling that she was an upstairs maid in a past life for she loves to wash and iron.

I find this hysterical since she ruined a load of my clothes when I was a child and told me, “If you don’t want that to happen again you should wash your own clothes.” I did after that, but she could have just told me it was time for me to do my own laundry. I did not inherit the love of washing and ironing so she may be right about her past life. I must have been the cook in my past life.

Mom, does not like to use punctuation or capitals when emailing or texting. Except for using a comma as an apostrophe, but never as a comma. This is hilarious to me because she is such a grammar freak.

So Happy Birthday to my Mom. I used a lot of capitals there just because she wouldn’t. I also used an apostrophe as an apostrophe, just to remind her that it comes on a standard keyboard. I wish you many more years of painting, bridge, a bull market and all the best books to be in stock at the library.

Celebrity at Bridge

Friday is my normal bridge day three days out of the month. It turns out that today we had a very special guest at the Bridge Academy, the First Lady of North Carolina, Kristin Cooper. She was invited by our bridge unit 191 even though she doesn’t play bridge.

One of the members of our unit, Pearl, is well over 100 and one of the best players around. The First Lady came to meet Pearl. Since we had her as a captive, Henry, the 2018 bridge teacher of the year, gave a five minute lesson on how to play bridge. Then my partner, Deanna, who is President of the unit gave a brief talk about what our unit does and the local members of note, meaning the best players.

After all that, the First Lady said she promised to learn to play bridge. I’m not sure she really knew what she was promising. I have been playing bridge a while and after the First Lady left I played about the worst bridge I have ever played. Sometimes I wonder if I am going to progress. Of course only playing three times a month is not enough. What I really need is a game that starts early in the morning, as I play on the afternoon, which is my worst time of the day. I only hope that if I play as long as Pearl that I get to be half as good as she is.

Waiting Seven Months

Today was supposed to be the day, but it wasn’t. The day my tile guy was to come and install my tile backsplash to finish my kitchen that I started redoing on July 1.

I didn’t pick a tile out until I finished painting my kitchen. When I did, I picked one that was custom made and took 9-12 weeks to get. My tile guy placed the order with the girl who helped me. Fifteen weeks later when the tile guy called the place to ask where the tile was he found out the girl who we placed the order with quit and never put my order in. So another 12 weeks and then it was Christmas.

My tile guy called me three weeks before Christmas and said he would come after the new year. We talked last week and picked today as the day. The day I have been waiting for forever. He told me they would come at 8:00 AM. I woke up at 5:45 so excited this day was finally here.

At 6:30 I got a text that the tile guy’s father was being taken to the ER. Today was not the day. Thankfully I got another text at 1:00 that everything was fine and tomorrow is the day. Not so fast. I am not available tomorrow so Monday is the day. Please lord let it be so. Maybe Monday I will have a back splash to blog about. Today, I have nothing.

Wuhan Where?

If you have watched the news at all in the last few days you most certainly have heard about the corona virus. It’s some kind of deadly virus that experts say originated in Wuhan, China.

Have you never heard of Wuhan until this virus news? What’s the big deal with a virus from a city you have never heard of. Well, Wuhan has a population of 11 million people. To put that in perspective New York City, the largest city in the US, has 8.3 million. That means that Wuhan is a third larger than New York.

Russ spent a lot of time in Wuhan in the early nineties building a factory for a Chinese cosmetic company. Back then it was only nine million people. He used to say Wuhan is the biggest place most people have never heard of.

Today the Chinese authorities announced they are stopping all transportation in and out of Wuhan. They have suspended busses, subways, trains, ferries and planes. These are the ways most people there travel. They are asking people not to travel in or out of Wuhan. They have not stopped private cars, but most people don’t have them.

Imagine if our government tried to stop all travel in or out of New York City? Never could happen. Hopefully the medical people can figure out the source and a treatment for the corona virus. I am thankful they are taking this virus seriously, and feel for the people of Wuhan. I am certain this is not how they wanted to come to the attention of the world.

Breakfast Makeover

For years and years I ate Special K high protein cereal with some kind of fresh berries most weekdays mornings. I liked the original version of it best and was Not thrilled when Kellogg’s changed the formula about five years ago, but I still ate it.

Last year when I tried intermittent fasting I more or less stopped eating cereal since my first meal of the day was after ten in the morning. This year my push is to give up added sugar and artificial sweeteners. I have not had a sweet ‘n low in my tea in 2020 and that has been the hardest part.

In my quest for good health and since I am not ding intermittent fasting, I needed to find a new easy breakfast for mornings I don’t have time to make eggs. Although I never added sugar to my cereal I could taste the sweetness in it, even though it was billed as a healthy cereal.

As a kid I lived on Quaker hot instant apples and cinnamon oatmeal. As the kids in our house always made our own breakfast, this was the easiest hot thing to make when you are eight years old. I knew I couldn’t make that now because I am certain it has as much sugar as Special K. I decided to just have plain oatmeal.

Having seen things on Pintrest for overnight oats, meaning oats that are soaked cold overnight, no cooking needed I decided to try that. I have to say it has become my favorite go to for fast mornings. The only problem is I have to remember to make it the night before, although it is the simplest thing.

I put a half a cup of oats in a glass, add 1 tablespoon of Greek yogurt and 3/4 of a cup of skim milk. I mix it up, cover and refrigerate. In the morning I add a good dose of cinnamon and a handful of fresh berries. It is incredibly filling and I find I am not hungry for lunch until much later in the day and I don’t miss the sugar.

I think I might cook up a few apples and add cinnamon to them and see if I might relive the taste from childhood sans the sugar. Life without sugar has not been that bad.